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Heath Streak banned for eight years for graft; contacted bookie during IPL 2018

According to ICC's statement, Heath Streak disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 tri-series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the IPL 2018, and the APL 2018.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata |
Updated: April 15, 2021 2:01:12 pm
Heath Streak played for Zimbabwe from 1993 to 2005. (Twitter/ZimCricket)

Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak has been banned for eight years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for corruption. Streak admitted to five breaches of the ICC’s anti-corruption code, including his transgression during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) when he was Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) bowling coach. All along, during a period of over 15 months, an Indian bookie, identified as Mr X, was involved and Streak also admitted to accepting two bitcoin payments that were “subsequently converted into US $35,000 in cash”.

The former fast bowler was charged by the ICC on five counts, one of which said: “disclosing inside information under both the ICC Code and various domestic Codes, in circumstances where he knew or should have known that such information may be used for betting purposes. In particular, he disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe v Afghanistan series in 2018, the IPL 2018 and the APL 2018.”

Apart from that, Streak was found guilty of “directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach the Code”. The ICC stated that Streak, 47, “facilitated or attempted to facilitate” the introduction of four different players, “including a national captain” to an alleged Indian bookmaker “for betting purposes”.

Streak was the bowling coach of the now-defunct IPL franchise Gujarat Lions in 2016 and 2017 before he was roped in by KKR in 2018. The decision summary put out by the ICC mentioned that Streak disclosed inside information to the Indian bookie in relation to the 2018 IPL.

“… he disclosed Inside Information to Mr X on various occasions under both the ICC Code and various domestic Codes, in circumstances where he knew or should have known that such information may be used for betting purposes,” stated the decision summary.

Streak played 65 Tests, scoring 1,990 runs and taking 216 wickets. In 189 ODIs, he made 2,943 runs and collected 239 scalps. Since his retirement in 2009, he coached the Zimbabwe national team over two stints – 2009-2013 and 2016-2018. He also coached the Bangladesh national side from 2014-2016 before acting as KKR’s bowling coach in 2018 and the Kabul Zwanan team in the same capacity in the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) the same year.

The decision summary said Streak got in touch with the Indian bookie, “at Mr X’s instigation”, over WhatsApp in September 2017 and the conversation was about “organising a league in Zimbabwe”. The bookie asked Streak “if he would be interested as he could earn some good money from it”.

Mr X informed Streak that he was involved in cricket betting, as he requested the details of the latter’s bank account outside Zimbabwe, which Streak provided.

Personal emails IDs and phone numbers were used for the conversations, which lasted over 15 months. “… in relation to the 2017 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, (the “BPL”), Mr X asked Mr Streak to provide him with any links, namely team captains, or owners or players, in the BPL, saying they could earn good money as a result which they could invest in a T20 event in Zimbabwe. It appeared that Mr X wanted Mr Streak to provide him with contacts of players, team owners etc. who Mr X could then approach for Inside Information, such as which team would win a match, in upcoming matches,” the decision summary stated.

Streak provided the bookie with contact details of three players in the BPL. The bookie had also “asked for player references for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018”, and “Mr X also requested, and Mr Streak provided, Inside Information relating to matches in the APL.”

As the report mentioned, Streak received an iPhone from the bookie as a gift for his wife during the APL, which he didn’t disclose to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).

The ACU sent a notice to Streak in December 2018 to attend an interview the next month but before the interview, the former player “engaged in a series of WhatsApp messages with Mr X, knowing that Mr X himself had recently been interviewed by the ACU”.

Streak, who failed to report any of the approaches, admitted all the charges and accepted the sanction. He will be able to return to cricket on March 28, 2029.

The BCCI, however, is unlikely to punish KKR for Streak’s transgression. Earlier, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended when their key officials, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra respectively, were found to be involved in betting during the 2013 season. But the IPL code of conduct protocols and subsequent action for a breach are different for team owners/officials and players/support staff. Streak was a support staff with the Kolkata-based franchise. Asked about BCCI’s future course of action as regards to Streak and KKR, a top Board official said: “We have to go through the ICC judgment and get all the details before taking a decision.”

ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshall said: “He (Streak) breached the Code on several occasions, including facilitating the approach of four other players. At times, he also sought to obstruct and delay our investigation.”

He confirmed that Streak’s “offences did not affect the outcomes of any relevant matches”.

How it unfolded

— In September 2017, Streak began a WhatsApp conversation with an Indian bookie, Mr X.

— In 2017, Streak provided Mr X with the contact details of three players in the BPL, including a national captain.

— In 2018, Streak disclosed inside information to Mr X regarding matches in the IPL apart from a triangular series and a Zimbabwe-Afghanistan series.

— In 2018, Mr X asked Streak for player references for PSL.

— In 2018, Streak facilitated the introduction of one player to Mr X during the APL.

— Streak received two bitcoin payments from Mr X, converted to $35,000 in cash.

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— Streak received a new iPhone as a gift for his wife from Mr X during the APL.

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